BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Friday morning, 256 students will graduate from Birmingham-Southern College, leaving behind a year where the future of their school seemed uncertain.
Seniors like Jeremy Joseph said BSC made their sendoff feel special by hosting events for all graduates. Even though students lived through so much uncertainty over the past several months, Joseph said they couldn’t be more excited to cross the finish line.
Last month school officials declared BSC would remain open, holding out hope for a bridge loan bill to keep them afloat that’s gaining momentum in the Alabama Legislature.
“It’s been a year of resilience for the staff. It’s been a year of resilience for the students, and we persevere for forever,” Joseph said. “So, we had our down moments where it was kind of touch and go for a while, but the board of trustees, President Coleman, director Thompson, really pulled through and we’re just elated.”
Joseph believes BSC will continue forward for many years to come.
“We have hope and we’ve had hope all along that we will continue forward, and it just came into fruition,” he said. “We didn’t have any doubts that President Coleman under his leadership would be able to pull the institution forward so, it just came into fruition and when that word came from the board and him it was just elation that hope came true.”
Although the school has fought all year for its survival, a possible solution coming from state lawmakers is in the works. Alabama Sen. Jabo Waggoner, a BSC alumnus, is heavily pushing SB278- a loan program bill that would look to provide the college with a one-time $30 million appropriation loan from the state’s education budget.
Earlier this month, the bill was approved by the Senate and is now moving through the Alabama House of Representatives.
Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who filed companion bill HB431, thinks it has a good chance to pass.
“The bill is moving, we still plan to have passage, find passage of it as we move through the budget process,” Givan said. “We’re still in the budgetary process. And so, as we move about that will be one of the pieces of legislation that will come down with regard to the supplemental.”
Givan said that if this all were to be put into action, it could also be a way for other institutions to get the same type of assistance as BSC.
The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m.